On Saturday, DC Councimember Kenyan R. McDuffie, held a Non-Violence Youth Summit in SE DC. The Ward 5 representative designed the summit to be Youth LED and a place where the city’s young people could speak on topics that affect them and their communities openly and honestly. While there were several adults in the audience, at this summit, adults weren’t leading the conversation; instead they were active listeners and supporters – something not all young people have and something, more adults can use practice in doing.
The moderator, WPGC 95.5’s Sunni and the City kept the conversation flowing and encouraged open dialogue. The #youthspeakDC panel members, who ranged in age from teens to young adults in their mid-20s, shared personal stories, reflections, “real talk” and advice on how adults can help teens or what, in their opinion, would be most helpful to teens. There were representatives from the local music scene, DC youth mayors, local politician Trayon White’s mentee program, youth advocates and teens from Beautiful U, Yes U. There were giveaways from one of the event sponsors, Shoe City and a rap performance from two of the panelists, local MCs HD Flyy and HD Mikey closed out the event.
I hope the city’s leadership and adults in positions of power to make programmatic, structural and strategic changes are listening. Here are some of the highlights:
It’s scary that every day you have to worry about if you’re going to lose your life, if you’re going to make it back home every day. Due to anything. It can be from police brutality or incidents that happen throughout the day. I think it’s scary.
Social media has pros and cons to it. I gotta watch what I’m doing. It’s not the same no more. Everywhere I go, I gotta watch what I’m doing because you never know who’s looking at you. I may want to do something bad and they look like oh, HD Mikey did it, so I’ma do the same thing. I can’t have that. I got little brother, I got a niece, nephew, little cousins. I gotta be a leader I gotta be a positive role model.
Bullying was never cool. I never respected a dude who could pick on someone for the only way you can stop cyber bullying is having more people who can defend those people, because it aint nobody gonna speak up, it’s going to keep happening. So social media is an outlet that’s used way too much in my opinion. You should use it for business and whatever positive outlook on life. At the end of the day, you can’t tell anybody what to post on Instagram, but you can avoid it.
What’s your responsibility when you see something happening?
The correct thing to do would be to try your best to prevent it. But it’s like the don’t ask don’t tell generation, let me mind my business generation, like you said, let me post this video up so I can get 100 likes generation so it’s up in the air. But you might have some strong youth that can voice their opinion and they’ll listen.
I think k2 is scary. Why would you put something in your body and mess up your mind. Just that one thing can mess up your whole life.
A lot of times people just experiment and that experiment turns into a habit.
How to reach the youth
When you tryna persuade youth it’ll be best if you put somebody who understands them. I think as a youth a lot of times you want to take advice from someone you have something in common with.
When I was young, I wasn’t trying to hear nothing from an older person, because back in the day, what they used to do is not what’s going on today. I want to talk to somebody who feel where I’m coming from. That can relate, like yeah I’ve been there too, not someone who can just tell me what to do and still don’t understand what I’m saying.
What the youth NEED in their communities
- Black male mentors.
- More job training for adults and more programs for the youth that they are actually interested in (like sports and music studios)
- A better rec center would be cool for the kids. Look at Deanwood. Why it isn’t a Deanwood around every neighborhood. I think every neighborhood deserves a Deanwood. Computer programs, job programs for older kids so they can have some hope.
- College preparation, vocational schools, trade schools.
- Better support system, adults who care to find out what’s going on instead of just talking badly about the youth and what’s going on.
Too many parents trying to be their child’s friend. Right now, in 2015, a lot of parents are scared of their kids and kids know that. Parent’s need to step up and be parents. You had your kids, your kids didn’t have you. People that act like they’re parents, not their kids sister or brother or niece or nephew.
If you want something go get it.
You have to want to do better for yourself. No one can want better for you than you want for yourself. We need to think about ourselves and what we want better for ourselves.
You gotta start with yourself before you start anything else. Until people look at theirselves and change like Michael Jackson say, take a look at yourself, change yourself and make the world a better place.
I seen it all and done it all. I’m still here alive.
A lot of kids are interested in a lot of different things. It’s a lot of kids who are talented and don’t nobody know.
A lot of people don’t care no more. They don’t care what the kids want, need, nothing. It’s sad because they only look at what they’re out there doing. Well take a second to ask that child what’s going on. You don’t even have a conversation with them. A lot of them don’t even have parents. So you can’t look at it and say it starts with the home cause who’s at home with them if they don’t have parents? You don’t even know. And a lot of people don’t know that. A lot of people in our neighborhoods are older and instead of helping their kids, you just criticize. Instead of you trying to help, you keep talking about the,
If someone’s not telling me you can look forward to this, you don’t have nothing to look forward to.
It starts with y’all and then us, because all we can do is speak but some people in this room got the power to make stuff happen.